Genetic engineering is the process of intentionally modifying a few genes or parts of a gene so as to bring about the expression of a different characteristic other than the normal one. This is usually induced in the laboratory and is done so as to modify the gene products in such a way that they can be utilized for some useful purpose. Although this is a science that is highly specialized and requires trained personnel, the benefits of this technique are endless. However, not everything is perfect and this applies for genetic engineering as well. There are both pros and cons of genetic engineering that are the following.
Pros of Genetic Engineering
There are many pros of genetic engineering ‑ the list is pretty long. A few of the crops that we commonly use like soya bean, potato, tomato and rice are in fact genetically modified. The genes of these products have been modified so as to obtain a better yield in some and to improve taste in others. In other crops genetic engineering has been used to increase the nutritional content. Some crops have the capacity to grow in some areas and cannot do so in other areas which can prove to be a problem. Genetic engineering has solved this problem as well.
One of the pros of genetic engineering is that this technique has not only increased the nutritional value of food but it has also increased the medicinal value of food. This will enable us to use these as a source of edible vaccines in the near future.
The pro of genetic engineering is that genetically modified crops are much more tolerant to harsh conditions like drought or heavy rainfall. They are, moreover, highly resistant to pests. This makes cultivating these crops simple and hassle free and also ensures better yield.
One of the other pros of genetic engineering is that it can be used with respect to humans as well. It can be used to modify the genes in human beings to bring desirable changes in them. Genotypes of human beings can also be determined by this method. This can be very useful in detecting congenital diseases early in the fetal stage so that it can be taken care of when it is still not out of bounds of medical science.
Cons of Genetic Engineering
If something goes wrong in the entire process of gene transfer, then the effects of one little mistake can be disastrous. Undesirable changes in the composition of the plants’ or animals’ genes can result in gross ill effects. Quite often horizontal gene transfer can lead to the rise of new pathogens which is definitely not what you would want.
Side effects of genetic engineering are quite a few and the effects are not very pleasant. Sometimes these effects are irreversible which makes genetic engineering even more perilous.
One of the cons of genetic engineering is that the entire process is very expensive and requires professional equipment. This makes it unaffordable and completely inaccessible to the poor. Some people believe that genetic engineering messes with nature and the natural creations.